New York City Ballet Promotes Unity Phelan and Indiana Woodward to Principal, Roman Mejia to Soloist
Thursday night, New York City Ballet officially announced the promotions of three dancers: soloists Unity Phelan and Indiana Woodward to principal, and corps de ballet member Roman Mejia to soloist. The news comes as several of the company’s principal dancers—Abi Stafford, Ask la Cour, Lauren Lovette and Maria Kowroski, as well as soloist Lauren King—bid adieu during NYCB’s fall season.
Phelan and Mejia received the news on Wednesday night, right after dancing together in Balanchine’s Western Symphony. Phelan told the New York Times that artistic director Jonathan Stafford and associate artistic director Wendy Whelan had originally intended to tell them on Thursday, but the dancers’ performances inspired them to do it early. The next day, they promoted Woodward, a sparkling soubrette, as well. The last female soloist to be named principal dancer at NYCB was Lovette, in 2015.
Six NYCB principals are retiring during the 2021–22 season—in addition to the four mentioned, Gonzalo Garcia and Amar Ramasar will give their final bows in February and May, respectively. This creates a major shift in the company’s roster, one shaped in Stafford and Whelan’s vision. With several more slots opening up, and so much talent among the soloist and corps ranks, the question remains: Who will be promoted next? We’ll have to wait and see.